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Michael's Notes Reveal: He Was Being LIED To!

Notes3A lot is being written right now about those handwritten notes left by Michael-you know, the ones that Katherine Jackson wants admitted into the trial, and for which AEG are staunchly trying to keep out, claiming they are irrelevant  hearsay.

My first reaction was to question the intentions of both sides. Why would Katherine, who has endured a long and bitter trial to “prove” that AEG recklessly hired Muray, want to admit as evidence a collection of notes in which Michael seemingly admits he wants Murray at his side to administer his “drip?”

Conversely, why would AEG fight to keep such evidence out, when it would seem that this could only bolster their case?

I think those answers become clear soon enough, on deeper inspection. Katherine’s attorneys seem to feel confident that jurors will look past this apparent self-admission for the desire of Murray’s services, to what may be their deeper implications.

On the surface, these notes seem little more than the usual manifestos that Michael liked to write. These kinds of inspirational manifestos were a consistent pattern throughout his life, and I see nothing here that in any way deviates from the same grandiose plans that Michael was laying out for himself as early as 1979.





The media, as usual, tends to over analyze everything when it comes to Michael. They will overly scrutinize every phrase for signs of some mental deterioration, or for signs of “desperation”-a very overused word that has popped up in so much of the media coverage of these notes. Somehow, despite all the evidence that Michael was writing these kinds of notes to himself for years, and that it was a practice that had at least partially as much to do with his great success as his talent-and even after being the subject of a recent 60 Minutes episode-the media will continue to view this as “a bizarre practice from a desperate mind,” as well as somehow convincing themselves that each new batch discovered is revealing this practice for the very first time.  The recent New York Daily News article, for example, must have made certain to mention his spelling errors at least a half dozen times-as if anyone edits all of their spelling perfectly when scribbling out a private note that is never intended to be seen by anyone else, anyway!

But in this case, there is, at least, some justification to the use of the word “desperation.” Unlike those similar notes from earlier periods, these do reveal a disturbing distrust of those around him-most importantly, those around him in his final days who were making so many of his business decisions.

The media, for example, will write of his “desperation” with no attempt to answer why he felt the need to write himself a reminder to sign all of his own checks. Or why he was so adamant in his fear and distrust of Thome, a man who we know was in cahoots with Phillips and company throughout the entire proceedings. Or why he states emphatically the need to hire accountants “I trust” and the necessity of meeting them. If we mean “desperation” in the sense that many of these notes reveal the mind of a person feeling cornered and losing control, then yes, they are desperate.

Was Michael In His Final Weeks Being Misled-Either Willfully Or Ignorantly- About The Benefits Of Propofol-Induced Sleep? His Notes Say Yes!
Was Michael In His Final Weeks Being Misled-Either Willfully Or Ignorantly- About The Benefits Of Propofol-Induced Sleep? His Notes Say Yes!

But with all the back and forth haggling from both pro and anti AEG factions, and pro and anti Jackson family factions, and all the media’s psychoanalyzing, it somewhat amazes me that no one has picked up on one of the most blatantly obvious clues revealed by these notes.

In the same note in which Michael insists on needing Murray to provide his “drip” he also says this: “I can’t be tired after procedure, to {sic] important (?), RIM {sic] sleep.”

I am not sure if “important” is the correct word here, since the handwriting becomes a bit illegible for me at that point, and that is why I have put a question mark beside it. But, Michael’s idiosyncratic spelling and penmanship aside, the gist of the message is crystal clear. Michael is saying that the “procedure” Murray performs is important because it will provide him with much-needed REM sleep. He seems genuinely under the impression that no other alternative form of sleep therapy or sleep aid will provide this.

But remember, this is exactly the OPPOSITE of what most real sleep experts claim, and, in fact, was the heart of Dr. Charles Czeisler’s entire testimony back in June:

You may recall that Dr. Charles Cziesler was the sleep expert witness paid for by the prosecution, who testified that in his expert opinion, it was the prolonged and sustained lack of REM sleep that killed Michael, and that even if Murray had not been negligent on the morning of June 25th, 2009, Michael would have had at best a few more weeks before his body shut down, anyway. It was Cziesler’s testimony that led to such Frankenstein-like headlines as “Michael Jackson May have Been The First Human Being To Ever Go 60 Days Without REM Sleep.” But sensationalism aside, there was more than a bit of truth to the claims. Based on Czeisler’s testimony, and what we know from the symptoms Michael was reportedly exhibiting in his final weeks, it became easy to draw the conclusion that Michael’s body was slowly and painfully shutting down as a direct result of having had no REM sleep in over two months!

I've Increased The Size Of The Note Here So You Can See Where MJ States He Genuinely Believes That Going Under A Propofol Drip Will Induce The Things He Needed Most-REM SLEEP!
I’ve Increased The Size Of The Note Here So You Can See Where MJ States He Genuinely Believes That Going Under A Propofol Drip Will Induce The Things He Needed Most-REM SLEEP!

Now that I have seen the above note, it has opened my eyes to an even more ominous possibility. It seems that Michael had been led to genuinely believe that propofol infusions would, in fact, produce REM sleep-the very thing he was most in need of. But who had been responsible for feeding him that misinformation? Did it come directly from Murray, or earlier doctors? And what about some of the self-proclaimed sleep experts that Michael was seeking in his last months, before turning to Murray?

Could it be possible that a genuine belief in this misinformation cost him his life, as well as weeks’ worth of unnecessary suffering? And what of the person who had convinced him? Ignorance or intentional malice?

Unfortunately, as happens so often, this kind of evidence only raises more questions than it answers. But one thing I feel very certain about after having seen this note.

If Michael genuinely believed he needed propofol infusions in order to get REM sleep, he was being fed a load of bull.

The big question that remains is: Who was feeding him that bull, and why?

And to look at the larger picture, it is very clear to me that AEG is more afraid of what these notes reveal, than any potential boost they might have to their case just because Michael seemed in favor of Murray. I just think there are too many powerful people who fear being put under the scrutiny that they know those notes will invite.

And when the media chooses to focus only on what the notes reveal about Michael’s “troubled/desperate/dark state of mind” (take your adjective pick here) they are playing right into the plan.

With Literally Days To Live...If Michael Was Being Misled And Lied To About Propofol Use, Who Was Doing The Lying-And Why?
With Literally Days To Live…If Michael Was Being Misled And Lied To About Propofol Use, Who Was Doing The Lying-And Why?

Michael’s state of mind, whether emotional or psychological, will always be questioned, while the most important questions raised by evidence such as this will always go ignored.


Did Losing The Ability To Dream Kill Michael Jackson?

Ah, The Good Old Days For Michael, When Being Able To Sleep (And Dream) Was No Issue.
Ah, The Good Old Days For Michael, When Being Able To Sleep (And Dream) Was No Issue.

It’s amazing how, sometimes, all the pieces to a puzzle will suddenly fit together when the one missing piece is found. My first thought, as soon as I learned of Dr. Charles Cziesler’s testimony, is that this explains everything. Or, if not everything, it at least-to quote one of my favorite lines from the movie “Almost Famous”-“explains so much.” I have pasted below Alan Duke’s CNN article. Pay attention to the passages I’ve highlighted and underscored, especially when we take into account the symptoms Michael was displaying in the last weeks of his life according to many witnesses. Now, I will say this much, for what it’s worth-I believe at least a couple of those symptoms  have been exaggerated, either by the media or by those who genuinely believed there was reason for alarm when, perhaps, there wasn’t. I will get to those a bit later in the post. However, that still leaves a slew of other symptoms and what has become vastly obvious as a rapid deterioration  of Michael’s health over a two month period. With this being obvious from the reports, but with so little medical knowledge to go on (and so little known about the long-term effects of propofol use) I had began to theorize that perhaps what Michael was suffering was essentially a kind of slow poisoning process, as the toxins from these nightly treatments accumulated in his bloodstream and organs. While under ordinary circumstances, propofol metabolizes quickly, there is simply not enough known about its long-term effects if used consecutively for many nights. “Propofol abuse,” in other words, is still a relatively new concept, although its use as a muder and homicide weapon isn’t unheard of.

Karrie Denise Willoughby Murdered Her Stepfather With Propofol
Karrie Denise Willoughby Murdered Her Stepfather With Propofol

This, for example, was a local case in Alabama that made national headlines (and note Denise Willoughby was charged with capital muder!):

sleep2Now, with what Cziesler has testified, it seems my theory may not have been too far off the mark. Michael, it seems from all indications, was slowly dying as a result of Murray’s nightly “treatment” although I had underestimated the role that a lack of REM sleep was possibly playing in that demise. It may not have been the same as being poisoned, but considering the long term toll that Murray’s nightly regimen was taking on his body-and which, according to Cziesler, would have eventually killed him within the next few weeks, anyway-it could certainly be argued that what was happening to Michael in the last two months of his life amounted to the same thing as being poisoned. After all, according to the Merriam Webster definition, “poison” means “a substance that through its chemical action usually kills, injures, or impairs an organism.” In this case, the substance in question, propofol, was causing poisonous  harm by inhibiting a vital bodily function necessary to survival-sleep. And, in keeping with that definition, I don’t think it is far fetched to refer to Michael’s death as a case of lethal poisoning, in light of Dr. Cziezler’s explosive testimony.

Expert: Michael Jackson went 60 days without real sleep

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 11:15 AM EDT, Mon June 24, 2013
Los Angeles (CNN) — Michael Jackson died while preparing to set a world record for the most successful concert run, but he unknowingly set another record that led to his death.
Jackson may be the only human ever to go two months without REM — rapid eye movement — sleep, which is vital to keep the brain and body alive. The 60 nights of propofol infusions Dr. Conrad Murraysaid he gave Jackson to treat his insomnia is something a sleep expert says no one had ever undergone.
“The symptoms that Mr. Jackson was exhibiting were consistent with what someone might expect to see of someone suffering from total sleep deprivation over a chronic period,” Dr. Charles Czeisler, a Harvard Medical School sleep expert, testified Friday at the wrongful-death trial of concert promoter AEG LIve.

The symptoms documented by e-mails among show producers and testimony from his chef, hairstylist and choreographers included his inability to do standard dances or remember words to songs he sang for decades, paranoia, talking to himself and hearing voices, and severe weight loss, Czeisler said.

“I believe that that constellation of symptoms was more probably than not induced by total sleep deprivation over a chronic period,” he testified.

Propofol disrupts the normal sleep cycle and offers no REM sleep, yet it leaves a patient feeling refreshed as if they had experienced genuine sleep, according to Czeisler.

If the singer had not died on June 25, 2009, of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic, the lack of REM sleep may have taken his life within days anyway, according Czeisler’s testimony Friday.

Lab rats die after five weeks of getting no REM sleep, he said. It was never tried on a human until Murray gave Jackson nightly propofol infusions for two months.

Translating that to a human, Czeisler estimated, Jackson would have died before his 80th day of propofol infusions. Murray told police he had given it to him for 60 nights before trying to wean him off it on June 22, 2009 — three days before his death.

Czeisler — who serves as a sleep consultant to NASA, the CIA and the Rolling Stones — testified Thursday that the “drug-induced coma” induced by propofol leaves a patient with the same refreshed feeling of a good sleep but without the benefits that genuine sleep delivers in repairing brain cells and the body.

“It would be like eating some sort of cellulose pellets instead of dinner,” he said. “Your stomach would be full, and you would not be hungry, but it would be zero calories and not fulfill any of your nutrition needs.”

Depriving someone of REM sleep for a long period of time makes them paranoid, anxiety-filled, depressed, unable to learn, distracted and sloppy, Czeisler testified. They lose their balance and appetite while their physical reflexes get 10 times slower and their emotional responses 10 times stronger, he said.

Those symptoms are strikingly similar to descriptions of Jackson in his last weeks, as described in e-mails from show producers and testimony by witnesses in the trial.

Jackson’s mother and children are suing AEG Live, contending that the company is liable in his death because it hired, retained or supervised Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. They argue that the promoter pressured Murray to get Jackson to rehearsals while failing to get Jackson help despite numerous red flags warning that he was in trouble.

AEG Live lawyers contend that it was Jackson who chose, hired and supervised Murray, and their executives had no way of knowing about the dangerous propofol treatments administered in the privacy of Jackson’s rented mansion.

A very long question

Czeisler was back on the witness stand Friday to answer a question that was asked just as court ended Thursday. Jackson lawyer Michael Koskoff asked his expert what may also be a record-breaker in a trial: a 15-minute-long hypothetical question.

He was asked to render an opinion based on a long list of circumstances presented so far in the trial about Jackson’s condition and behavior, including:

• That Murray administered propofol to Jackson 60 consecutive nights before June 22, 2009.

• That Murray began to wean Jackson from propofol on June 22, 2009, and gave him none of the drug on June 23.

• That a paramedic who tried to revive him the day he died initially assumed he was a hospice patient.

• That show producers reported Jackson became progressively thinner and paranoid and was talking to himself in his final weeks.

• That the production manager warned that Jackson had deteriorated over eight weeks, was “a basket case” who he feared might hurt himself on stage and could not do the multiple 360-degree spins that he was known for.

• That show director Kenny Ortega wrote that Jackson was having trouble “grasping the work” at rehearsals and needed psychiatric help.

• That Jackson needed a teleprompter to remember the words to songs he had sung many times before over several decades.

• That show workers reported the singer was talking to himself and repeatedly saying that “God is talking to me.”

• That Jackson was suffering severe chills on a summer day in Los Angeles and his skin was cold as ice to the touch.

Jackson lawyers revised the question Friday morning after AEG Live lawyers objected to the information about Murray’s nightly propofol treatments, since it was derived only from the doctor’s statement to police after Jackson’s death. The judge previously ruled that statement inadmissible.

Instead, they brought up evidence that Murray ordered more than four gallons of propofol between April and June, which Czeisler said equaled 155,000 milliliters of the drug. An anesthesiologist uses between 20 and 30 milliliters to induce a coma for surgery, he said.

The expert testified that his review of Jackson’s medical records convinced him that the singer suffered a chronic sleep disorder that “was greatly exaggerated” while he was on tour or preparing for a tour.

Jackson died just two weeks before he would have traveled to London for the premiere of his “This Is It” comeback concerts, produced and promoted by AEG Live.

A lecture on sleep

Jurors appeared quite interested as Czeisler lectured them Thursday on his sleep research, including an explanation of circadian rhythm: the internal clock in the brain that controls the timing of when we sleep and wake and the timing of the release of hormones

“That’s why we sleep at night and are awake in the day,” he said.

Your brain needs sleep to repair and maintain its neurons every night, he said.

Blood cells cycle out every few weeks, but brain cells are for a lifetime, he said.

“Like a computer, the brain has to go offline to maintain cells that we keep for life, since we don’t make more,” he said. “Sleep is the repair and maintenance of the brain cells.”

An adult should get seven to eight hours of sleep each night to allow for enough sleep cycles, he said.

You “prune out” unimportant neuron connections and consolidate important ones during your “slow-eyed sleep” each night, he said. Those connections — which is the information you have acquired during the day — are consolidated by the REM sleep cycle. Your eyes actually dart back and forth rapidly during REM sleep.

“In REM, we are integrating the memories that we have stored during slow-eyed sleep, integrating memories with previous life experiences,” he said. “We are able to make sense of things that we may not have understood while awake.”

Learning and memory happen when you are asleep, he said. A laboratory mouse rehearses a path through a maze to get to a piece of cheese while asleep.

The area of a basketball player’s brain that is used to shoot a ball will have much greater slow-eyed sleep period since there is more for it to store, he said. Players shoot better after sleep.

The Portland Trailblazers consulted with him after they lost a series of East Coast basketball games, he said. He was able to give their players strategies for being sharper when traveling across time zones.

He’s worked with the Rolling Stones on their sleep problems, he said. Musicians are vulnerable since they are often traveling across time zones and usually “all keyed up” to perform at night, he said.

Czeisler developed a program for NASA to help astronauts deal with sleep issues in orbit, where they have a sunrise and sunset every 90 minutes.

Other clients include major industries that are concerned about night shift workers falling asleep on the job, the CIA, the Secret Service and the U.S. Air Force, he said.

Jackson lawyers argue that AEG Live should have consulted a sleep expert like Czeisler for Jackson instead of hiring Murray — a cardiologist — for $150,000 to treat the artist.

The trial ends its eighth week in a Los Angeles courtroom Friday. Lawyers estimate that the case will conclude in early August.

I should add that there is a video of an interview with another sleep expert on the CNN website from which I took this article, which you can access via the above link. However, I think what she has to say about sleep deprivation and the advice intended for insomniac sufferers “like Michael Jackson” is pretty much useless, since all of the remedies she suggests are only effective for mild case insomnia. While good intentioned, perhaps, she is failing to take into account that Michael had, at some point, tried ALL of these remedies-and nothing had worked. Yes, the use of propofol may have been “beyond the pale,” as she put it. But this was, as most sleep experts have recognized, a “beyond the pale” case of insomnia. It was certainly not one that was going to be solved by a little exercise, or a cup of herbal tea.

Lack Of REM Sleep Means No Dreams-And, Eventually, Death.
Lack Of REM Sleep Means No Dreams-And, Eventually, Death.

One thing that struck me as sad, in a poetic kind of way, is that if we believe Cziesler’s testimony and put trust in his expertise, it all comes down to one, simple truth:

Michael Jackson may have died by losing his ability to dream.

Aside from the rejuvenation and restoration of brain cells and other vital organs, the characteristic most associated with REM sleep is dreaming. As Cziesler noted, it is during this phase of sleep that the subconscious is working out vital memories, helping the brain to process all of the information stored throughout the day, as well as life experiences. From the beginning of time, our ability to dream has always been a source of great fascination and mystery. We now know that it serves many important physical functions as well that are necessary for the maintenance of physical health and mental functioning.

If what we are hearing is true, and Michael had experienced no REM sleep for 60 days, it means that in all likelihood, he hadn’t dreamed in 60 days.

Obviously, I’m playing with this idea on two levels-the physical one, obviously, but also the deeper, more symbolic one. Michael Jackson, whose career owed so much to being one of the greatest dreamers of our time, may have lost that ability in more ways than one.

“You can kill the dreamer, but you can’t kill the dream”-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

However, leave it to another “doctor”-Dr. Conrad Murray-to prove that, just maybe, you can kill the dream as well.
Of course, I have heard that for many years after his 2005  trial, Michael continued to have nightmares about it-and about going to prison. Who knows, perhaps he subconsciously (or even consciously) sought to avoid slipping into that frightful world of dreams. Perhaps that was part of the appeal of propofol, the idea of being able to slip into a peaceful abyss without dreams; without torment. However, that is a tangent for which I’ll be here all day if I allow myself to indulge it. Perhaps for another blog.
To get back to the question at hand, however: Does propofol actually inhibit REM sleep? I did find at least a couple of medical articles that seem to dispute Cziesler’s claims. I am sorry I was not able to make the second a clickable link.…sleeppropofol…/3deec51a6356cad6e1.pdf
However, this is a passage from that second article. We have to keep in mind that the study of propofol’s effects on sleep patterns has only been tested on rats, not humans, and there are still many mitigating factors that can affect the results of those studies:

In principle, a period of anesthesia might modify the
homeostatic regulation of sleep debt in three ways. For
example, general anesthesia might be a permissive state
that allows normal sleep homeostatic processes to occur.
An anesthetized organism would thus repay sleep
debt built up during previous wakefulness and emerge
less sleep-deprived after an anesthetic than before. Alternatively,
anesthesia might progressively increase sleep
debt in a fashion similar to wakefulness. Prolonged anesthetics
would then induce a sleep-deprived state. Finally,
anesthesia might represent a state unlike either
sleep or waking, in which sleep debt neither accumulates
nor dissipates. Organisms emerging from anesthesia
would then have the same degree of sleep deprivation as
when they were initially anesthetized.

And, from the same article:

Delayed, propofol-induced effects on sleep may also
have altered the interpretation of our results. In humans,
the combination of inhaled anesthetics and surgery results
in initial suppression of REM sleep, followed by a
rebound increase on the second or third postoperative

However, at this point, I was getting a bit confused by the findings. Several medical sources seemed to dispute Cziesler’s claims, giving the impression that anesthesia can produce the same recovery from sleep deprivation as natural sleep:

Anesthesiology. 2004 Jun;100(6):1419-26.

Recovery from sleep deprivation occurs during propofol anesthesia.


Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, The University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.



Some neurophysiologic similarities between sleep and anesthesia suggest that an anesthetized state may reverse effects of sleep deprivation. The effect of anesthesia on sleep homeostasis, however, is unknown. To test the hypothesis that recovery from sleep deprivation occurs during anesthesia, the authors followed 24 h of sleep deprivation in the rat with a 6-h period of either ad libitum sleep or propofol anesthesia, and compared subsequent sleep characteristics.


With animal care committee approval, electroencephalographic/electromyographic electrodes and intrajugular cannulae were implanted in 32 rats. After a 7-day recovery and 24-h baseline electroencephalographic/electromyographic recording period, rats were sleep deprived for 24 h by the disk-over-water method. Rats then underwent 6 h of either propofol anesthesia (n = 16) or ad libitum sleep with intralipid administration (n = 16), followed by electroencephalographic/electromyographic monitoring for 72 h.


In control rats, increases above baseline in non-rapid eye movement sleep, rapid eye movement sleep, and non-rapid eye movement delta power persisted for 12 h after 24 h of sleep deprivation. Recovery from sleep deprivation in anesthetized rats was similar in timing to that of controls. No delayed rebound effects were observed in either group for 72 h after deprivation.


These data show that a recovery process similar to that occurring during naturally occurring sleep also takes place during anesthesia and suggest that sleep and anesthesia share common regulatory mechanisms. Such interactions between sleep and anesthesia may allow anesthesiologists to better understand a potentially important source of variability in anesthetic action and raise the possibility that anesthetics may facilitate sleep in environments where sleep deprivation is common.

(The free full text of this article is available, btw).

sleep6But then, I found this important article that was published, shortly after Michael’s death, in the July 2009 issue of Science Life. This was an interview with the same experts who conducted the studies linked to above, and thankfully, was written in layman’s terms (make that plain English!) for those of us who aren’t doctors or medical experts. I will link to the entire article, but to save time and space for right now, let’s just excerpt the passage that concerns our present purpose most:

Q: But does that mean that propofol sedation is the same as sleep?

Tung: Propofol sedation is nothing at all like sleep. Sleep is reversible with external stimulation – if you shake somebody, they wake up. Propofol is obviously not like that. Sleep shows a characteristic pattern of EEG behavior, while propofol does not. (For instance, Tung explains, cyclical patterns of REM and nonREM sleep are not observed during propofol sedation, in rats or humans) Sleep, in general, preserves blood pressure and the ability to breathe and propofol does not. They are very different states.

Q: All of your propofol research has been in rats, has there been any research done in humans along these lines?

Tung: No, there has not. It does appear that humans given propofol for prolonged periods do not appear to be sleep deprived when you turn off the drug. No data exist to support the specific use that has been alleged in the Michael Jackson case (using propofol as a treatment for insomnia),. Use to facilitate regular sleep is not at all safe. The benefit is way outstripped by the risk…if there is any benefit.

Nobody is advocating its use outside a hospital for patients that are not critically ill. That is outside the boundaries of currently accepted care.

Ah, so now it all starts to make sense, and goes right back to exactly what Cziezler said:

“It would be like eating some sort of cellulose pellets instead of dinner. Your stomach would be full, and you would not be hungry, but it would be zero calories and not fulfill any of your nutrition needs.”-Dr. Charles Cziesler

In other words, a person who goes under with the use of propofol will wake up refreshed, since the anesthesia has mimicked the effects of sleep. For most of us, there are no long term consequences for this effect since our experience with anesthesia is generally limited to surgical procedures, and not as a nightly aid to induce sleep. But now imagine you ate those pellets every night for dinner, for 60 nights or longer. You would continue to feel full, but sooner or later, your weight would be dropping drastically, your muscles would start to atrophy;  your vital organs would start to shut down.
It is a little like anytime we rely too much on a temporary solution to fix what is actually a long-term problem. We know that if an obese person ate those pellets every night for dinner, they would lose weight. But they would also die.
As for being able to dream while under anesthesia, I do know from experience that it is technically possible. I had Diprivan during my appendectomy in 2009. All I remember is that I was talking away to the nurse about my job, and then I drifted into a very fleeting dream that involved Brad Pitt (I kid you not; I can’t think of any better way to pass the time during an appendectomy!). Next thing I knew, I was awake; my inflamed appendix, gone.
So from my own experience, I know it is possible to dream while being under propofol, which might suggest that I must have been experiencing some degree of REM sleep.  However, that isn’t necessarily the case.
The four stages outside of REM sleep are called non-REM sleep (NREM). Although most dreams do take place during REM sleep, more recent research has shown that dreams can occur during any of the sleep stages. Tore A. Nielsen, Ph.D., of the Dream and Nightmare Laboratory in Montreal, refers to this as “covert REM sleep” making an appearance during NREM sleep. Most NREM dreams, however, don’t have the intensity of REM dreams.
Judging by what I experienced, I would say this was a case of NREM dreaming. All I can tell you now is that I know the dream involved Brad Pitt. But beyond that, the details are very fleeting and fuzzy-a good indication that I was not experiencing true REM sleep.
All Experts Agree That This Was A Completely Unprecedented Medical Experiment. Michael Was Used As A Guinea Pig In The Worst Way Possible.
All Experts Agree That This Was A Completely Unprecedented Medical Experiment. Michael Was Used As A Guinea Pig In The Worst Way Possible.

And let’s not forget that Michael was being put under for 60 consecutive days (if we go by Murray’s police report). As Cziesler pointed out, there are simply no other human experiences by which to gauge the effect this would have had on his mind and body. Michael was being subjected to a completely unprecedented medical experiment.

“I have watched him deteriorate in front of my eyes over the last 8 weeks. He was able to do multiple 360 spins back in April. He’d fall on his ass if he tried now,” production manager John “Bugzee” Houghdahl wrote in an e-mail to AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips on June 19, 2009.
Keeping in mind Houghdahl’s email, let’s go back to something Cziesler said about REM sleep-deprived individuals.

“They lose their balance…their physical reflexes get ten times weaker…”

It’s sad to think of Michael Jackson losing his ability to perform his dazzling 360 spins. This was not only one of his signature dance moves, but also his absolute favorite to perform. In Dancing the Dream, he described it thus:

“I throw my head back and a swirling nebula says, ‘Fast now, twirl!’

Grinning, ducking my head for balance, I start to spin as wildly as I can. This is my favorite dance, because it contains a secret. The faster I twirl, the more I am still inside. My dance is all motion without, all silence within. As much as I love to make music, it’s the unheard music that never dies. And silence is my real dance, though it never moves. It stands aside, my choreographer of grace, and blesses each finger and toe.”-Michael Jackson, excerpted from “Dance of Life.”spin

It is even sadder in light of the fact that what Cziesler is referring to is irreversible damage. Brain cells are not an on again, off again switch. Once they are damaged, it is irreparable. As we saw in This Is It, Michael was certainly still capable of being an amazing dancer, but as pointed out in testimony, we don’t see him performing any 360 spins. Many have pointed out that his dancing seemed a bit “off” but I had always just chalked it up to the fact that this was rehearsal footage and that Michael was not dancing full out (to my knowledge, he never did in rehearsals; he didn’t need to). Just as he was always saying, “I need to conserve my throat” he also very seldom pushed himself to full capacity in rehearsal. People who wanted to be nitpicky picked on a lot of things for the wrong reasons. His sidestep glides, for example (or, as some call it, the side moonwalk) look clumsy in the film for a good reason. Look at his feet. He is wearing hard soled street shoes in those segments-shoes with heels, in fact. Not his customary penny loafers, which gave him the much needed agility and traction for those moves. This may also explain why there was no moonwalk in Billie Jean (again, aside from the fact that this was only a rehearsal run through).

Michael's Billie Jean Routine In This Is It. Note That He Is Wearing Hard Soled Street Shoes, Not His Customary Penny Loafers. It's Absurd To Think That This Didn't Impede His Ability To Throw Spins And Moonwalks Into The Number.
Michael’s Billie Jean Routine In This Is It. Note That He Is Wearing Hard Soled Street Shoes, Not His Customary Penny Loafers. It’s Absurd To Think That This Didn’t Impede His Ability To Throw Spins And Moonwalks Into The Number.

Also, there was much unnecessary over analyzing of some of his “manic” looking moves during the Human Nature segment. (Remember when everyone was wondering if “The Penguin” was a new dance move he was planning for the concerts?). I can sum up the truth about those moves in just a few chosen words: It’s called HAVING FUN. In typical MJ fashion, Michael was cutting up and teasing. It may have looked a bit manic, but these were never moves he seriously intended to use.

But again, This Is It can not be relied on as an entirely accurate depiction of what his last rehearsals were like. What we saw was the best of the best, culled over roughly about two nights’ worth of decent performances and a few bits and pieces sliced in from other good moments. When I stop to think about it, it’s really true that we don’t ever see him performing any of his routinely most challenging dance moves. There are no spins, no moonwalks, and only a few clumsily executed glides. Of course, to offset that, we still have a killer Smooth Criminal routine that is spot on flawless, a well executed Thriller routine (in which he does dance full out) and that amazing Beat It segment which required multiple jumps, spins, and falling on the floor-all of which he manages to do as well as the dancers half his age. He also looked very good during the Jackson 5 routine, although here we are talking dance moves he had known intrinsically since childhood, so perhaps that is no surprise.

In short, just because we don’t see these moves in This Is It doesn’t mean that he couldn’t perform them. But that is also no reason to dispute the validity of the eyewitness claims, those like Houghdahl who were witnessing what they specifically described as a measurable physical decline between April and June.

Now, let’s go back to Cziesler’s own words again:

” They lose their balance and appetite while their physical reflexes get 10 times slower and their emotional responses 10 times stronger.”

Many of the witnesses have claimed that Michael exhibited signs of increased paranoia during this period. However, I always take that term “paranoia” with a grain of salt. It’s an overused term; one of the media’s favorite catch phrases when describing Michael’s more extreme fears and anxieties. The bottom line is that much of the time he had damn good reason to be “paranoid,” if that’s what we wish to call it. In my estimation, it cannot truly be paranoia if a person has legitimate and valid reasons to be fearful. Paranoia is a psychological term used to describe exaggerated or imaginary fears and anxieties about being harmed. I don’t think Michael’s concerns were necessarily unfounded ones. But the effects of this slow poisoning could well have been working on his physiological state, making his emotional responses to such stimuli-whether real or imagined-much more intense. You know how we always joke about how overly emotional women are on their periods, due to the hormonal imbalances during that time? Well, take that and multiply it several times over, and I believe you have something very much akin to what Michael was experiencing during those weeks, only the cause was not hormonal, but due to very real and dangerous chemical changes going on in his brain. This would have made any amount of stress almost impossible to deal with (let alone the hugely monumental stress he was being put under with these shows and rehearsals) and any conflict apt to set him on edge, regardless of how serious or petty the actual offense.

“After he got off the phone, he would cry,” Prince Jackson testified. “He would say ‘They’re going to kill me, they’re going to kill me.'”-From Prince Jackson’s testimony.

I want to make it clear that I am not in any way trying to diminish or invalidate why Michael may have been making these claims. I am only pointing out that what Prince testified, along with what other witnesses have said, seems to bear out that Michael was in a highly emotional and agitated state throughout these weeks in question, which again is another symptom pointing to Cziesler’s theory that lack of REM sleep was severely affecting his judgement during these weeks. Perhaps Michael did feel they were trying to kill him, but I believe that had he not been hampered by the effects this poison was wrecking on his body and mind, he would have been able to think more clearly and rationally and would have been able to exercise better judgment in how to deal with those pressures.

Prince Described His Father As Excited About The Shows, But Often Emotional Over The Pressure He Was Being Put Under. "He Would Sit And Cry" After Phone Conversations With Randy Phillips. Could Lack of REM Sleep Have Been Contributing To His Emotional Distress?
Prince Described His Father As Excited About The Shows, But Often Emotional Over The Pressure He Was Being Put Under. “He Would Sit And Cry” After Phone Conversations With Randy Phillips. Could Lack of REM Sleep Have Been Contributing To His Emotional Distress?

And what about these reported symptoms?

• That show director Kenny Ortega wrote that Jackson was having trouble “grasping the work” at rehearsals and needed psychiatric help.

• That Jackson needed a teleprompter to remember the words to songs he had sung many times before over several decades.

As Cziesler pointed out, a severely REM-impaired individual, as Michael surely was at this point, would be distracted and unable to concentrate, and certainly memory- impaired. It’s interesting to note that Kenny Ortega was requesting psychiatric help, however, without taking into consideration that there may have been very possible PHYSICAL reasons for this lack of focus. This distinction is important, because the one still carries with it the stigma of Michael’s “issues” having a psychological basis, rather than a physical one-especially when we consider that his physical decline at this point was due to the “care” he was supposedly receiving in order to do AEG’s bidding. This is also why Dr. Cziesler’s testimony is so crucial to our understanding of what was really going on with Michael at the end.

But how much should we really make of the memory issue? I have listened to many live MJ performances-including several from the peak of his career-in which he appears to “scat” his way through hits like “Beat It,” often substituting nonsensical lines in place of the actual lyrics. He would often improvise this way as he shaped the songs (his demos bear this out) and sometimes, in concert, he would fall back on this sort of improvisation. I am sure that Kenny Ortega and those who had worked with him for years would know the difference, but I think it is worth mentioning since we know how the media has always loved to exaggerate these negative reports.

For example, very recently when I was researching for a post about Michael’s tendency to write motivational notes to himself-those notes he would often write on his bathroom mirrors, or would stick in various spots throughout his house-I found this snarky piece from The Daily Mail. Of course, they not only referred to the notes as “bizarre” (even though they were positive and inspirational) but made special mention of what was apparently a “reminder” to include We Are The World in his setlist. Here is the excerpt from that article:

Also included was a reminder about singing his hit ‘We Are The World’ during his show.

The source said: ‘It’s worrying that he had to write reminders about things as obvious as these while he was rehearsing for his tour.

However, I can assure you there was nothing at all unusual in posting such a reminder! What this article does NOT mention is the fact that We Are The World-despite being one of Michael’s biggest hits-was never a staple of his live shows. It was never a song he routinely performed, in all of the twenty-four years since he had recorded it in 1985 and out of three world tours since. Therefore, the idea that he just might need a post-it sticky to remind himself to insert We Are The World  into his setlist is really not that far-fetched. After over twenty years of performing a live setlist that seldom had few variations, it would make sense that he might have the need to post a reminder that a deviation was planned. Anyone with any familiarity of Michael’s live shows would know this (but, of course, this is typical of the kind of lazy journalism that permeates the profession today; they just assume that their readers would take it for granted that We Are The World was a staple of his live shows. Who’s going to fact check a thing like that unless they are a diehard fan, right?).

I Posted This Pic Just To Lighten The Mood. However, It Comes With A Serious Message. You See, The Media Loves The Image Of Michael As A Basketcase...As Long As They Can Make It Clear That He Was A Basketcase Of His Own Doing.
I Posted This Pic Just To Lighten The Mood. However, It Comes With A Serious Message. You See, The Media Loves The Image Of Michael As A Basketcase…As Long As They Can Make It Clear That He Was A Basketcase Of His Own Doing.

These kinds of stories have been repeated and circulated endlessly, all with the intention of creating a portrait of someone who was a “basketcase” in his last days-but always, a “basketcase” due to his own making.  Seldom have any physical factors, other than addiction and drug dependency, been considered as possible reasons for these symptoms. Again, this is a reason why Dr. Cziesler’s testimony is crucial.

And what about the reported delusions, the ramblings, the comments that “God is talking to me?”

 That show workers reported the singer was talking to himself and repeatedly saying that “God is talking to me.

Well, I stated my feelings on that back when I posted this piece:
To those of us who are very religious and/or spiritual, it can mean something very different to say “God is talking to me” than it may for the average agnostic. My personal belief is that Michael was being called home, and perhaps it was due to his heightened state of emotional awareness during this time that he was attuned to it. But still, we can’t overlook the fact that Michael’s physical condition, after more than 60 days without restorative REM sleep, could have also played a role in creating auditory hallucinations. The symptoms would mimic those of schizophrenia for one, simple reason-it is the same parts of the brain that are being affected. I suppose it is like trying to unravel the mystery of “The White Light” and the hearing of loved ones’ voices when we pass on. Science can-and has-come up with many plausible theories as to why the dying brain experiences these phenomena. Yet, for all the scientific explanations, these things still defy our understanding. Or at least, our complete understanding.
In Michael’s case, two forces were happening inside him simultaneously. While the poison was shutting down brain cells and slowly destroying vital functioning, it was also giving him a sense of heightened consciousness. This is the same phenomenon that happens with the terminally ill, as their spirit selves begin to “disconnect” from their physical selves. I think it is at least one part physical (because the brain is shutting down) but many parts spiritual, and is simply one of those things we will never fully understand-at least, not until we experience it ourselves, and by then, it’s too late to turn back and enlighten those we’ve left behind.
And what about the oft-reported chills and shaking?
 That Jackson was suffering severe chills on a summer day in Los Angeles and his skin was cold as ice to the touch.
This is a symptom that has been reported many times, by many witnesses. But the cause of the chills has usually, invariably, been played out as some sort of drug withdrawal, most notably Demerol.  This was a staple, in fact, of Conrad Murray’s defense:
Karen Faye has been one of those insistent on the fact that Michael was always cold and had chills during his last weeks of rehearsal:

Q. You previously testified on those days Mr. Jackson looked good?

A. I didn’t say he LOOKED good. There’s no way somebody could look good that quickly. His rehearsal was better, sir.

Q. He had better rehearsal o the 23rd 24th but you still thought he was too thin?

A. Absolutely, sir. He was cold, very cold.

On almost all days at the end of June Michael was cold, but on June 19th he was cold like ice cubes:

‘That was the day that Michael was cold like ice cubes, he was shivering and shaking and couldn’t get warm. I got my space heater and put it next to him and wrapped him in a blanket.”

Well, it is interesting to note that Karen Faye’s testimony also seems to support that Michael’s physical deterioration really began in April, the month that Conrad Murray began treating him!

Karen Faye saw Michael in April 2009 and though he was very excited and upbeat she noticed that he was on the thin side. But in those days she still hoped he had time enough to build the body mass.

However the first time Michael came on stage, which was two months later, she saw the difference even from the way he looked in April.

A. At the beginning time frame he seemed happy I was with him, I’d touch him up and he’d seemed relatively normal.

Q. When did it change?

A. Well, I felt the turning point happened when he got on the stage.

Panish: So you told us about the skin and you told us about the weight.

Karen: His eyes were very dry.

Q. Anything else, you told us about him repeating himself?

A. For instance, whenever before he’d get on the stage for a scene. He would say make sure you stand where I can see you and he would say it repeatedly.

I am not so sure, however,  that the repetition should have been a cause for alarm. I am not claiming to know more than Karen Faye, who was with him for almost thirty years. But Michael, from what I gather, had always a slight OCD tendency to repeat things. This was all a part of his well known perfectionism, which I think in itself was a manifestation of it, but in a positive way. (However, the fact that it could also drive those around him a little batty is well documented).karen
I absolutely believe that all of the witnesses who have reported that he was cold to the touch and having chills must be telling the truth. Even Paris said that “Daddy was always cold” and spoke of him sitting by the fire to keep warm. This was reported in LaToya’s book, so take it for what it’s worth. But I believe her, as this also fits into everything else that has come to light since the trial began.
However, I also believe there has been some exaggeration of this symptom, most notably regarding the baggy Ed Hardy outfits Michael wore on his last night of rehearsal. Both fans and journalists have often pointed this out as irrevocable “proof” that Michael must have been freezing during rehearsals. Otherwise, why would someone in their right mind wear a jacket and sweater and layers of clothing to rehearse a demanding dance number, in the heat of an LA summer?
The Baggy, Oversized Ed Hardy Outfits That Michael Wore For The Thriller And Earth Song Dress Rehearsals Have Often Mistakenly Been Cited As Evidence That He Was Freezing During Rehearsals. The True Reason Was Far More Practical, And Humdrum
The Baggy, Oversized Ed Hardy Outfits That Michael Wore For The Thriller And Earth Song Dress Rehearsals Have Often Mistakenly Been Cited As Evidence That He Was Freezing During Rehearsals. The True Reason Was Far More Practical, And Humdrum
But the explanation is actually a simple one. These were, after all, full dress rehearsals-a fact that both the media and many fans (who should know better) conveniently often ignore. If we look back at how Michael routinely dressed for his live performances of Thriller and Earth Song, it’s obvious that both of these numbers always called for multiple layers of heavy clothing. Thriller routinely called for a jacket, even during the full out dance segment, and for Earth Song, Michael typically wore many layers of heavy clothing, including a jacket and sweater. It would make sense that in dress rehearsal, he would want to get a feel for how these items moved; how they felt on his body. And yes, I’m sure those outfits got awfully warm beneath the stage lights. But acclimating himself to those outfits would have been an important part of the rehearsal process.
Michael's Live Performances Of Earth Song And Thriller Called For Many Layers Of Clothing. Acclimating Himself To Performing In These Outfits Would Have Been An Important Part Of Dress Rehearsal.
Michael’s Live Performances Of Earth Song And Thriller Called For Many Layers Of Clothing. Acclimating Himself To Performing In These Outfits Would Have Been An Essential Part Of Dress Rehearsal. It Did Not Mean He Was Freezing.
I guess this is all a way of saying that I do believe there has been some degree of exaggeration in reporting Michael’s symptoms, but on the whole, I believe that when you have this many witnesses who keep repeating the same thing, it has to have some validity.  We know for a fact that concern over Michael’s health and what appeared to many as a striking and obvious decline that occurred over a brief, two month period was a source of concern (not necessarily a concern for him or his well being, but a concern nevertheless).
The reason why Dr. Cziesler’s testimony is so crucial to our understanding of what really happened to Michael Jackson is because, for too long, the media has used these symptoms as an excuse to paint Michael as a “basketcase” in his last weeks. These symptoms have been reported, scrutinized, and analyzed-but until now, with no real validity, insight, or even compassion as to what may have actually been the true culprit behind them. This has given haters like Diane Dimond cart blanch to call him “a basketcase of his own making,” as she did in this USA Today article:

Those who are sympathetic to AEG’s side like to portray a picture of a ruined superstar who created his own tragedy. However, I want to stress again-even though I detest the nasty headlines, the mud slinging, and the turmoil as much as anyone else-that this is why this trial needs to happen. Dr. Cziesler, I am convinced, has supplied a crucial missing piece to the puzzle. We knew Michael was displaying these symptoms, but until now, we had every crazy theory in the book except, perhaps, the simplest one that made the most sense.

Our Banner Image, From The "Beat It" Performance IN TII, Shows A Strong And Confident Michael In One Of The Film's Best Moments, The High Energy Finale Where Michael Outshines Dancers Half His Age. But What Was The Real Story Of What Was Happening To Him Those Two Months? We've Heard A Lot Of Crazy Theories, But The Answer Closest To The Truth May Have Been The Simplest All Along.
Our Banner Image, From The “Beat It” Performance IN TII, Shows A Strong And Confident Michael In One Of The Film’s Best Moments, The High Energy Finale Where Michael Outshines Dancers Half His Age. But What Was The Real Story Of What Was Happening To Him Those Two Months? We’ve Heard A Lot Of Crazy Theories, But The Answer Closest To The Truth May Have Been The Simplest All Along.
Ultimately, what this trial is all about is deciding not who was responsible, but who was most responsible in allowing this to happen. But it’s a comfort now to know that, if Michael was acting and behaving in all these manner of strange and bizarre ways in his last weeks, it wasn’t because of drug withdrawal, or drug use, or mental illness, or any other crazy theory.  It was because he was being systematically poisoned by the very doctor hired to look after him. And in light of Cziesler’s testimony, I don’t know what else you would call a knowing experiment that would deprive him of two months’ worth of REM sleep-a medical necessity for maintaining physical and mental health. And, more than that, a necessity for life itself. This goes much deeper than Michael’s personal choices or demands, and even deeper than negligence on Murray’s part. This is about willful administration of a treatment regimen that would have resulted in death even had it not been for Murray’s carelessness that morning, which merely expedited the process. Are we supposed to believe that Murray, a doctor, knew nothing about this? Did he watch Michael displaying  all of these symptoms, day after day,while willingly continuing this crazy experiment?
Yes. He did.
In a nutshell, it’s the whole reason we’re here. And why Michael is not.
Let’s look again at some of what came from Prince Jackson’s testimony:
Prince said his dad was excited about his upcoming tour, produced by AEG Live, as was he, as he’d only seen him perform once. However, he said his dad would come home from rehearsals upset with AEG’s CEO, Randy Phillips, and his former manager, Dr. Tohme Tohme. “He would cry,” Prince said. “He would say, ‘They’re going to kill me. They’re going to kill me.'” Once, the singer became so enraged that he cursed out Tohme, Prince added. “[And] he never fought. He was too kind to fight,” he said. Prince also added that he was frightened of Phillips, who often spoke to Dr. Conrad Murray to in “hushed whispers.”
What strikes me as most sad about the above passage is that here was Michael, still excited to perform after a lifetime in show business, but with his excitement marred by enormous stress, undue anxiety, fear of, and frustration with those who were in charge and running the show.
Michael, The Little Boy From Gary, Indiana Who Had Dreamed So Big, Began To Die The Day His Dreams Stopped-Literally
Michael, The Little Boy From Gary, Indiana Who Had Dreamed So Big, Began To Die The Day His Dreams Stopped-Literally

The little boy who used to kneel by his bedroom window at night in the little house in Gary, Indiana, dreaming those enormous dreams that had carried him to the pinnacles of stardom, had, in fact, lost his ability to dream.

I am convinced now that, although his body may have survived an additional two months from the onset of Murray’s treatment, Michael Jackson really began to die the night that his dreams died.

That was the day in April of 2009 when Conrad Murray ordered four gallons of propofol-enough to ensure that Michael Jackson would never dream again.

UPDATE: 07/03/13: Another testimony has shed some interesting new light that is somewhat related to this topic. I will comment more when I have time to write in more detail:

The AEG Trial and My "Official" Position

If Katherine Jackson Has A Case...Does That Make This Is It A Lie?
If Katherine Jackson Has A Case…Does That Make This Is It A Lie?

It begins, bright and early Monday morning. I don’t think any of us wanted this trial; certainly I know that MJ fans are not relishing the idea of yet another long, drawn out ordeal of media mud slinging. How many times does this make now? Sheesh, poor Michael has been “tried” more times in death than he ever was in life! At what point do we-even his family and loved ones-simply say enough is enough, and let the man rest in peace? I don’t know how you guys feel. But personally, I am more tired than fired up this time. I try to summon the anger; the outrage, the burning desire for justice/vengeance at all costs. But it just isn’t there anymore.

During the Murray trial, I wrote that justice for Michael will not come without scars:

My sentiments haven’t changed. However, Murray’s guilty verdict did provide much needed closure. That trial was dirty business, but necessary. And in hindsight, I still say it didn’t turn out so bad, as far as Michael’s legacy and reputation coming through relatively unscathed. Much of this, no doubt, was due to several factors: The prosecution’s strong, airtight case; the charisma of David Walgreen; a judge who seemed genuinely sympathetic to the fact that Michael Jackson was the victim in the case (and who showed much integrity in putting a gag order in place so that the case could not disintegrate into a media circus), and perhaps the most important factor of all-televised coverage. Televised coverage not only allowed America and the world to witness every word of the prosecution’s case, but also put a serious kink in any media attempt to spin the story how they wished. After all, it became pretty difficult-and would have been downright embarrassing-to try to spin the case in any way, when viewers could hear and see for themselves exactly what went down on the witness stand on any given day.

Dr. Conrad Murray Trial
The Charisma Of David Walgreen…The Saline Bag…All Captured In Their Glory Courtesy Of Courtroom Cameras

Add to all of this the fact that Conrad Murray himself does not come across as a very sympathetic or likeable figure, despite his best efforts to win over the world’s sympathy. (In fact,  every effort Murray has made to win sympathy has, for the most part, simply blown up in his face, succeeding for the most part only to further reveal his egotism, lack of remorse, and sociopathic tendencies). Consider all of this, and you start to understand how Michael clearly emerged as the victim in the case. Although we will always have the stubborn faction who want to cling to the belief that Michael Jackson alone was responsible for his own death, I don’t think there were too many  that came away from that trial-at least among those who followed it closely-who weren’t convinced that the guilty verdict was well deserved.

But now we are facing the prospect of an untelevised trial, and my biggest concern is that we may see the same kind of unethical media behavior that we had in 2005, in which pro-prosecution journalists took full advantage of the situation to manipulate, twist, and exaggerate witness testimonies. As we now know too well, Michael’s molestation trial was not televised, and therefore journalists during that trial had a field day reporting the prosecution testimony, often without bothering to report the results of cross-examination, and pretty much ignored the entire defense testimony altogether. They purposely honed in on the salacious and whatever headline was guaranteed to “sell copy,” knowing that by the time the actual verdict was reached, it wouldn’t matter one way or the other. They got their story; they sold their papers and spiked their ratings. What might happen months down the road-whatever the defense might prove or disprove-had no relevance. The media lives for the moment.

Michael's 2005 Trial Was Untelevised. The Public Relied On Enactments Such As These On Court TV  To Get A Sense Of "Being There." But The Media Often Distorted The Proceedings.
Michael’s 2005 Trial Was Untelevised. The Public Relied On Re-Enactments Such As These On Court TV To Get A Sense Of “Being There.” But The Media Often Distorted The Proceedings.

True, we will have transcripts made available, eventually. But as usual, only those truly interested in researching the case in depth-the MJ bloggers and the fans who care enough to bother-will learn whatever truth is revealed by those transcripts. The rest will simply swallow whatever CNN, HLN, TMZ, Court TV, etc, etc care to give them.

I am not so much concerned with what may come out of this trial, as the way the media will choose to spin it. And an untelevised trial will give them just that opportunity.

It also concerns me somewhat that this trial has already received double the media attention of the Murray trial. The Murray case was a criminal trial, in which a man charged with the homicide death of a beloved pop star and icon was to be determined guilty or innocent. Yet its coverage was mostly limited to HLN and Court TV, and the results of each days’ testimony given only small bites on most network newscasts. The majority of Americans weren’t even aware a trial was taking place, much less that Murray was convicted. Believe it or not, I still talk to people sometimes who have no idea. If the subject of Michael Jackson and his death comes up, they will ask, “Whatever happened to that doctor of his, did they ever charge him with anything?”

Yet the media has been practically salivating over what is, in essence, a civil case. Perhaps it is the stakes involved (to the tune of $40 billion), or the David vs. Goliath aspect of frail, elderly Katherine Jackson taking on the entertainment giant that is AEG, or (most likely) the fact that, based on what we’ve seen so far, AEG is willing to play as dirty as they have to in order to win this case, thus guaranteeing the media no shortage of dirt.  In any event, I sense the stage is being set for another media feast the likes of which we haven’t seen since 2005.

In light of this, I wanted to share with you an interesting article sent to me by a reader (thank you, shelly!) that was written in 2005 near the close of the molestation trial. It was written by an NBC news correspondent, of all people, yet sheds a lot of insight into the way the media operates and, in particular, how and why they reacted to the Jackson trial in the way that they did:

Endgame, Finally

By Mike TaibbiCorrespondent

NBC News
updated 5/31/2005 2:08:46 PM ET

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — A silver-haired attorney stood and said “The defense rests,” not calling any of the rebuttal witnesses he’d been expected to call, and the vast machine of the Jackson trial press corps poured out of the courtroom to report the news. After 13 weeks, 60 days of testimony, 140 witnesses and more than a dozen years of allegations, rumors, intermittent tabloid frenzy and Ahab-like persistence from a local District Attorney, the question of whether an entertainer of world-class stature is also a pedophile is about to be answered by a jury.

With no final defense rebuttal, the last piece of evidence presented by the prosecution to the 20 local citizens in the jury box (12 primary jurors plus eight alternates) was an hour-long videotape of the understandably sympathetic first police interview with Jackson’s young accuser. Mumbling and with seeming reluctance, the boy related the sordid details of his alleged molestation by the faded popstar over a few nights in the winter of 2003.

“Once you share this you’ll feel better,” prodded Sgt. Steve Robel. The boy, a cancer survivor, fidgeted in his chair, eyes downcast. Robel asked what sports he liked, he said “football and baseball.”

“I wanted to be a pro ballplayer,” the veteran cop said. “I was scouted by the Philadelphia Phillies, they came to talk to me and my parents. But certain things got in the way… it’s called politics.”

Taped allegations
Soon enough the boy told his story. That Jackson trolled internet porn sites with him on the night they first met at Neverland. That he gave him wine, vodka, scotch and rum. That he talked often about sex, shared his collection of pornographic magazines and, “…maybe five times or so,” reached over as the two shared Jackson’s bed, after both had been drinking, and fondled him.

The jurors had heard those specific allegations before when the boy had testified earlier in the trial. I watched the boy on the tape: Were his hesitations and lack of eye contact evidence of the established difficulty male victims of male pedophiles have in first disclosing their molestation? Or was it a performance by a skilled and experienced liar as defense witnesses made him out to be? I looked at the jury box a couple of times: They were watching and listening, but gave no obvious hint of what they were thinking.

“You’ve been through hell,” Sgt. Robel was saying near the end of the interview. “What he has done to you, he is the bad person, not you. You, your mom, your sister, your brother… you’re the good people. You guys are doing the right thing, you’re helping a lot of people.”

Robel asked the boy if he’d “be open to making a phone call to Michael”– a pretext call in hopes that the popstar would make a damaging admission.

The boy shook his head. It was going to be his word… and that of his mother, sister and brother…against Jackson’s. Period. Four months later, with virtually no further substantive investigation beyond the interviews with the accuser and his family, one of the most famous people on the planet would be arrested. The tape ended.

The courtroom lights came back on. The silver-haired lawyer, Jackson’s lead attorney Tom Mesereau, stood up, said his three words, and sat down. A defense source had told me Mesereau had studied the tape and “wasn’t worried about it,” convinced, the source said, that the jury already had an indelible picture of the boy and his family as grifters out to skin any available mark, especially celebrities, with the boy’s sickness as their currency of persuasion.

I ambled deliberately out of court while other reporters raced past me to spread the news worldwide. Jury instructions and final arguments after the holiday weekend, and then those citizens in the box will do their thing. And then, thankfully for me, home.

I have never liked this story and would never have chosen this assignment. Of course there are others among the thousands of stories I’ve reported in nearly four decades at this craft that also would not have been my choice, and an assignment, in my business, is an assignment; but few have left me feeling dispirited and soiled at the end of a day’s work, as this one has. There are others in this press corps who feel the same way, and many of my colleagues and friends and intimates back home have declined to follow this story at all.

It feels voyeuristic, and for a dozen years it has been voyeuristic. There are “journalists” who’ve maintained careers by chasing down and breathlessly reporting every Jackson rumor peddled by real or would-be “witnesses” to the singer’s every move. Many of those rumors, enhanced by each sale and re-sale to the tabloids (print and broadcast), became embedded in the public consciousness because, in the past decade and a half, mainstream journalism itself and its relationship to “tabloid” stories have changed.

‘Buying’ witnesses
I think it began on the day in 1990 when the mainstream press covering the William Kennedy Smith rape trial in Palm Beach (I was there) was restrained outside the courthouse police lines as the key witness in that case was escorted into court on the arm of a “reporter” for one of the newly-popular tabloid TV shows… because that show had “bought” that witness and locked her up exclusively.

And because mainstream news organizations do not “buy” witnesses, the only way to compete on stories the tabloids increasingly “owned” was to legitimize the tabloids themselves. Thus, in the OJ Simpson case, the vaunted New York Times held its nose and started quoting the National Enquirer, because the tabloid (through whatever means) was often out front on that story. And CBS News, on its “Evening News,” used tape and information attributed to the television show “Hard Copy” in its reporting on the 1993 Jackson scandal.

The 9/11 effect
In the meantime, over the years, the preferences of news consumers seemed also to be changing. Or maybe they were being changed. I think—and, let me stress, this is just my opinion—that 9/11 contributed to that change in a fundamental way: The event itself was so incomprehensibly awful that news consumers (consciously or unconsciously) suddenly wanted something different from the news organizations on which they’d depended for years. Less bad news, fewer investigative reporting efforts that required hard work on the part of viewers and readers. Keep it simple, make it pleasant or safely entertaining, make it diverting. The great newsmagazines on the major networks fought shrinking audience shares by changing their fare. Reality television arrived… and exploded as the genre of audience choice. In the cable universe the trial of a fertilizer salesman accused of killing his wife and unborn child became the lead story for a year… audienceswanted that story, the ratings instructed. There was live coverage of Joey Buttafuoco’s sentencing on the same day the realignment of NATO earned a 30-second reader on one network newscast.

And, since November of 2003, the question of whether Michael Jackson fondled a young boy from a family of graspers who may also be con artists has been the epicenter of a worldwide reporting effort by scores of news organizations.

I’m a reporter assigned to this story, so I’m here. Soon, though not soon enough, I’ll be home because one story– Jackson’s guilt or innocence as determined by this apparently hard-working jury—will be over.

But the other story and the bigger one in my mind– how and why we all got here in the first place– is yet to be told.


If there is any silver lining in this, it is that the media, for the most part, does have a tendency to be pro-prosecution. We have seen this play out in many high profile cases, including-no huge surprise here!-even the Murray case. So perhaps it is also possible that the very thing that worked to Michael’s disadvantage in 2005 could work to his advantage now.

Perhaps. But remember that the trade-off in 2011 was that, while Michael ceased being the villain, he became “the victim”-a figure on a gurney; a naked man on an autopsy table; his entire life reduced to his medical history and the gruesome, clinical details of his autopsy report. Not exactly a great alternative.

Ultimately, whether Katherine wins or loses the case,  Michael loses. No one from AEG is going to serve prison time; there is no real justice other than that, if the Jacksons win the case, they get some money out of it. It won’t bring Michael back; it’s not going to bring real justice (no matter how it turns out). In the meantime, we-a “we” that includes Michael’s children, as well as his fans-must once again relive Michael’s death and all of the tragic circumstances that led to it. A doctor was said to have proclaimed that being forced to testify would be “medically detrimental” to Blanket. I would say it’s going to be detrimental to all of them.

At what point can we simply celebrate Michael’s life, and cease rehashing his death? At what point will we be able to celebrate his many strengths and accomplishments, without constantly having his every human flaw and weakness held up for scrutiny?

This past week, country music legend George Jones passed away. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Mr. Jones’s artistry. But as a human being, George Jones was certainly a very flawed man. He was an alcoholic, a drug addict (whose abuse included recreational as well as prescription drugs) and a deadbeat dad. Yet all of the media write-ups, such as the obituary which appeared in The New York Times, have been quite respectful. And if you read the comments left by readers, there is no ridicule, no finger pointing, no trolling. None of the disgraceful and downright dehumanizing kind of comments that we see accompanying anything that is written about Michael. Even the recent story of Ozzy Osbourne’s  fall from the wagon was treated with more respect in the press than anything we will be apt to see reported on Michael Jackson during this upcoming trial. The fact is that while so many talk, talk, talk about “personal responsibility” one really has to ask the question…why are there so many people who apparently are so invested in one man’s “responsibility” for his own death? And what part of the word “homicide” do these people fail to get?

This isn’t exactly sour grapes, but the double standard does bother me; always has. Certainly Michael Jackson’s flaws-such as they were-were no greater or worse than many celebrities-including many of the artists I most admire. Yet the media will always relish in his flaws far moreso than any other celebrity. It is always as if Michael has twice as much to prove, and twice as much to lose, with every bit of negative publicity. And if we are honest with ourselves, it is the negative publicity that we fear most about this trial.

A Grieving Mother Out For Justice...Or A Monster Out For Money? There Is Going To Be No Shortage Of Opinions, From Both Camps
A Grieving Mother Out For Justice…Or A Monster Out For Money? There Is Going To Be No Shortage Of Opinions, From Both Camps

But is that the selfish way to look at it? While many are bashing Katherine, we should keep some things in perspective. She is the one who lost her son. And if this trial is something she feels has to proceed in order to bring closure and justice for what happened to her son, do we have the right to question it? Katherine had to have known the negative consequences of this trial, yet she has felt strongly enough about this case to proceed. I’m sure that having gone through the ordeal of being by Michael’s side every day during the molestation trial, and the toll of being there almost every day at the Murray trial, the last thing she really wants-anymore than the rest of us-is to go through the ordeal of another trial.

Is it just about the money? I know some will say so. Many have convinced themselves so. The word “greed” is used so often in conjunction with the Jackson name that I’m surprised there isn’t a Jackson family photo in the dictionary when one looks up the word “greed.” But personally, I don’t believe it’s about the money. Perhaps I am naive and idealistic,  but I believe Katherine genuinely wants justice from those she feels are responsible for Michael’s death, and this civil suit is as close as she is going to get to any sense of justice. I also know the fur is going to fly these next few months; things are going to get very ugly and heated. This trial has already further polarized an already divided fan base. It’s only going to get worse.

I know there are passionate and ardent defenders on both sides of this case. I also know there are many who are so anti-Jackson family that they will automatically criticize any action the family takes, even down to demonizing Michael’s own mother. And some who are so anti-estate that they have allowed the poison of this hatred to even taint how they portray Michael’s own children.

When “fans” are even attacking Michael’s own mother and kids-the very people he loved dearer than life-what is next? For sure, I know that Michael had some private reservations about his mother. He was very careful who he confided those reservations to. But I still think he would be very unhappy to see how his mother is now being attacked in some circles. Michael’s relationship with his parents was complex, just as most of our parental relationships are, but does that give us the right to judge? Michael certainly never made it any secret that his mother was someone he held in high regard.

I can certainly understand not agreeing with this trial, but I don’t get those who are so pro-AEG that they will attack Michael’s own flesh and blood to defend an organization whose only vested interest in Michael Jackson was as a commodity. Just because I don’t approve of this trial doesn’t mean I hold them blameless.

Let’s not lose perspective on this. For me, there is no love lost for AEG. AEG was nothing to Michael except a corporate entity; Michael in turn was nothing but an entity to them. It was a business arrangement, pure and simple. Whether Michael lived or died; whether he was happy or miserable, sick or well, meant nothing to them as long as a show went on.  It was in their best interest, of course, for him to be well and happy. But in the long run, as long as they got their 50 shows, it didn’t matter.

My sympathies, for sure, are with Katherine and the kids. But that doesn’t mean I don’t question the wisdom or folly of this trial. The Jackson family have been guilty of some pretty bonehead statements and actions (let’s see, there was “Grannygate” last summer, and all that nonsense regarding body doubles in This Is It, etc-I could go on but I won’t). The point I’m making is that, while I may sympathize with them on many issues, I certainly do not always agree with them-or the actions that they take. For sure, there have been times when the family has irritated me to no end. But I am a firm believer in that,when push truly comes to shove, blood is indeed thicker than water-as it should be. with katherine

And something else that bugs me about all of this…if indeed Katherine Jackson has a case, does that mean AEG sold us a lie with This Is It? It’s a question that has been on my mind for over three and a half years. I suppose it is because part of me still wants to believe that Michael was indeed that guy we saw in the film, fully in control and in charge, vibrant and ready to take on the world again; a man excited to perform again for his fans. I used to be the first to scoff at the This Is Not It faction; I put them down as just a bunch of people (haters, perhaps even)who wanted to see the film fail and Michael’s legacy destroyed.  These days, given the facts that came out during the Murray trial and more recent developments that have come to light, I am not so sure anymore.

Perhaps the best clue as to how Michael was really feeling about his life, the shows, and most importantly, about AEG was revealed by Paris during her recent deposition (and I believe his own daughter would certainly be in the best position to know):

Paris also states that Michael told her schedule for TII was “too much” for him and “Phillips and them were out to get them” 
Retweeted by MelanieLOVESMJONE!
Ivy @Ivy_4MJ 37m
Paris states Michael was happy about the ticket presales for TII tour & excited about the tour & he wanted concert footage to be 3D or-Paris

Her comments seem an interesting contradiction, but not an unfeasible one. I think it is very possible that Michael was excited about the shows, but not with the undue pressure he was being put under to suddenly have to perform 50 of them. I certainly have no intention of tossing out my copy of This Is It. For what it is, I still think the film is a precious momento of Michael’s last days, and I like to think that all of the stories of how excited he was to be performing again are at least partially true. So in light of Paris’s words, I think it is possible that there is truth to that, and that what we get in the film is at least a truthful representation of those last, few days when Michael reached deep within himself  and connected with that fire again. I have to believe that. But I am sure I can’t be the only fan for whom the desire to reconcile that belief with much of what we now know from the Murray trial and of AEG’s bullying/”tough love” tactics presents a bit of a conundrum.

Michael Caught In A Beautifully Ecstatic Moment Of Rehearsal During This Is It. I Like To Believe This Is How It Was...No Matter How Briefly
Michael Caught In A Beautifully Ecstatic Moment Of Rehearsal During This Is It. I Like To Believe This Is How It Was…Even If Only For A Little While

I’m sure my comments are going to invite a barrage of heated opinions from both camps. But that’s okay.  As always, I will try to respect most opinions.  For myself, I have usually found it’s best to keep a somewhat neutral perspective; if nothing else, it enables me to see the facts clearly without allowing my own bias to cloud my judgement. So for now, perhaps it is safest to say that my official “position” is to have no position. Or at least, to keep an open mind until we hear all of the facts of this case.

I don’t agree with this trial. I wish with all my heart and soul that it wasn’t happening. But it is, and it’s  here. And seeing as how it is here,  I am not ashamed to say that my heart, my prayers and my full support will certainly be with Katherine and the children during these next few, difficult months.

AEG, I am quite certain, can fend for themselves just fine. After all, the only thing they “lost” on June 25th, 2009 was a business deal.

ETA (04/28/13):  I am excited to announce that, due to the demands of keeping up with this trial over the next several months, I have decided to open up an Allforlove forum. (Link is also included in the right menu, underneath the new “Social” heading).

I know that events will be unfolding rapidly; far more rapidly than I can keep apace here. This way, you all can post updates as necessary, while leaving the comment section on the blogs  only for comments relevant to that particular entry. I have created three sticky threads for the time being-a thread for discussion, one for media postings only, and one for transcripts as they are made available (or if they are made available). More threads can be added as needed; these are just a starting point. The forum at present is just for discussing the trial. I haven’t decided yet if I will want to continue the forum as a permanent feature after the trial is over, or simply lock it down and keep it as a ‘read only” archive. I really never embraced the idea of having a forum; I had operated a forum once before (not related to MJ) and had said, “Never again!” I rather like just having my little corner here where I can express my thoughts about Michael, without all of the madness and responsibility of running a forum. But after much thought (and much persuading from my better half, lol) I have decided that the demands of keeping up with this trial are going to require a much more interactive medium than what I currently have.  Another advantage is that it will keep the blog open for other topics as well. (The idea of writing on nothing but this trial for four months on end is, frankly, a depressing thought to contemplate!).

You will have to register to be able to post and comment. I am the administrator, but not the moderator (just so you know). I decided it would be best to delegate that responsibility to someone else.

I will be posting daily updates on the trial on the Allforlove Facebook page and (yes!) my soon-to-be-active Twitter account (which I’ve actually had for some time, but just never got into the swing of using it; I am slow to come around to change, haha.  But again, with the demands of this trial, I think it is going to be a necessity).

I will post trial-related blogs as developments warrant, but mostly those will be limited to developments that I feel require in-depth analysis or response. Otherwise, look to the forum, Facebook and Twitter for most of the daily trial bites.

And, as we move forward, let’s keep in mind these words that Michael wrote, which are going to apply these next few months more than ever:

In Our Darkest Hour
In My Deepest Despair
Will You Still Care?
Will You Be There?
In My Trials
And My Tribulations
Through Our Doubts
And Frustrations
In My Violence
In My Turbulence
Through My Fear
And My Confessions
In My Anguish And My Pain
Through My Joy And My Sorrow
In The Promise Of Another Tomorrow
I’ll Never Let You Part
For You’re Always In My Heart.